A visit to Venice wouldn’t be the same without delving into its long and fascinating history as the world’s oldest republic
Discover the Doge’s Palace in the most complete and rewarding way possible: with an expert guide, entertaining anecdotes, and by exploring what 99% of visitors to the Doge’s Palace never get to see. We’re talking, of course, about the secret itineraries, the palace’s hidden labyrinth of secret meeting halls, offices, torture chambers and top-security prison cells!
By exploring the secret itineraries, you get away from the crowds elsewhere in the Doge’s Palace and walk in the footsteps of Venice’s most colorful characters. Our favorite? Casanova, the legendary brigand (yes, he did exist!). As you’ll learn, he deserves all of the lore: Against all odds, he was able to escape his cell here in the palace, a cell you’ll get to see exclusively in the secret itineraries.
As well as hearing Venice’s juiciest stories, a visit to the secret itineraries means getting to walk through the hidden cells and rooms—parts of the palace that not only most visitors don’t see, but that the vast majority of Venetians in the past never knew about, either! Exploring the secret rooms, with their antique cabinets and creaky floors, will truly make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.
You will also discover the rest of the Doge’s Palace with your expert guide, from the Doge’s own lavish apartments to the Hall of the Great Council, where the city’s all-important general assembly made decisions. Admire the beautiful and dramatic paintings by Veronese and Tintoretto and explore the magnificent halls that demonstrate the prestige of the Most Serene Venetian Republic. What the Vatican is to Rome, the Doge's Palace is to Venice: For seven hundred years, the remarkable palace has been the home of not only the Doge, but of Venice’s (independent!) government, courts, and even prisons.
At the end of your Doge’s Palace Tour, get a comprehensive tour of St. Mark’s Basilica. With access to the group entrance you’ll avoid long general access lines. Here you will get a deep look at the way that Venice built a mercantile empire that once spanned the entire Mediterranean. As you gape at the mosaics and other treasures inside, your expert Venetian guide will explain how the city begged, borrowed, and yes, stole, almost all of them as it grew from a tiny island to one of the biggest powers in the Medieval world.